Target: Missouri Governor Jay Nixon
Goal: Veto bill that would force women to wait 72 hours between their first and second appointments at abortion clinics
After much debate, the Missouri Senate and House have pushed through a bill that would extend the waiting period for a woman to get an abortion from 24 to 72 hours. Only two other states, Utah and South Dakota, have such a law on the books. These laws severely restrict the rights of women who need or want to abort a fetus, who may have to travel a long way to get to a clinic. When these laws go into effect it forces women to spend more money that they may not have to stay in the area or travel long distances back and forth, since these states also do not have abortion clinics readily available to women who require their services. The only clinic in Missouri is in St. Louis, so this bill may simply force Missouri women across the border into Illinois, effectively banning abortions in the state.
This bill does not even exclude women who are the victims of rape or incest. The bill’s sponsor, Republican Rep. Kevin Elmer, told USA Today, “The crux of it is for me when does life begin, and how do you value it? For me, even though that tragic situation may occur, I still believe that God is at work in this world and that he’ll let bad things happen and he doesn’t cause it.” Clearly, Rep. Elmer and his cohorts value the unborn much more highly than living women who are placed in terrible situations; the bill passed both houses recently and is on its way to the governor’s desk. The religious reasoning behind this bill also violates the separation of church and state: women who believe similarly to Rep. Elmer have the choice not to have an abortion, and as such women who do not believe the same way should not be penalized.
By signing this petition, you are calling on Governor Jay Nixon to veto the bill. You are urging the governor to recognize that this bill only hurts women, forcing them to travel and spend more to have operations they require or want for their own medical or personal reasons.
Dear Governor Nixon,
I am highly disappointed that Missouri’s House and Senate have both passed a recent bill to limit women’s access to abortion by forcing them to wait longer between appointments. This bill will only force women to spend money they may not have to stay in St. Louis or travel back and forth in order to have an operation they require or want based on medical or personal reasons. The religious justification used by Rep. Elmer for this bill violates the separation of church and state, and penalizes women who do not follow the same faith. Additionally, it forces women who are victims of rape or incest to live longer with their pregnancies before being allowed to have their abortion, which will only traumatize them further.
I urge you to see that this bill shows a lack of value for the well-being of half of your constituency. I urge you to veto this bill on the grounds that it unconstitutionally forces women to adhere to certain religious beliefs, and that it unjustly restricts access to procedures that women need. Bills like this do not prevent women from needing and seeking abortions; they only make it more difficult and dangerous for women to acquire them.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: USDA via Wikimedia Commons